To the editor of THE EAGLE:

This letter was inspired by Kevin Cullen’s April 26 "Life of a heroin addict" editorial page column. As a parent of an addict, let’s talk about how we cope!

Every time a person under 30 dies now, and it is not in a car accident, we automatically assume a heroin overdose. How heartbreaking is that! Knowing of at least three of our child’s classmates and friends who did not survive the overdose while our child did, you want to believe that your child was saved for a purpose. Let’s face it, that’s not true! You are in a constant state of waiting for the call that she is dead and honestly not knowing if you will be devastated or relieved that this nightmare is over!

Drug addiction is contagious. A large portion of these young people come from decent two-parent homes. Many, our child included were awesome athletes and honor students. Our child even has a bachelor’s degree!

Many, ours included, suffer from some sort of mental unbalance. Many, ours included, got painkillers very young for sports injuries or other health reasons from doctors! Don’t get me wrong, I am not blaming the medical profession, doctors’ hands are tied. Our child became addicted in the first phase of the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) law. Stupid law! A parent needs to know what is going on with their child.

Today, we are finding many doctors willing to talk to us because they see what is happening.


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It was totally hypocritical of the medical profession to tell us that a young person’s brain does not fully form until their mid-20s, but at 18 they can doctor shop and be prescribed anything without your knowledge.

Besides the damage that your child does to you and your family, there are other aspects of being a loving parent to an addict, like the humiliation of knowing you failed as a parent and the unspoken opinions of others! There is a saying that rattles in my head every day -- there but the grace of God go I!

SUE CAHILL

Hinsdale